Team Kilt gets no rest, though, as Round 3 has already started! Voting continues until 8am Central time tomorrow.
If Zachary wins Round 3, I will
a) die of shock
b) but before that, post another SHINE teaser, though probably not from the castle, since I've excised all the spoiler-free bits
c) but before that, donate $100 to the Tartan Army Children's Charity, a group of football supporters who raise money to help needy kids in Scotland and in the countries they visit while following the national side.
One reason why I'm donating is that we'd hoped to do the Kiltwalk next year with some friends, but I'm pretty sure it's going to fall on the same weekend as the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago, which I've already committed to (and am very much looking forward to--RT is like Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth). So probably no Kiltwalk 2012 for me. But 2013 for sure! I need both an excuse to get in shape and an excuse to return to Glasgow, to pick up the piece of my heart I left there. *Drama Hand to forehead*
The $100 will probably take the form of a 10-pound/month automated donation for six months (roughly $100, depending on the exchange rate). Knowing me, I'll forget to end the automated payment in January, so years from now this win could be worth THOUSANDS.
So vote for Zach, and help some weans! (weans=kids)
Yes, yes, I know you're really here for the spoils of yesterday's victory. The Twitter chat between Logan and Zachary will take place from 9-10:17pm Eastern time tonight. Hashtag: #SHADEboys. (I wanted something fancier like #SHADEboyzsmackdown, but that takes up a lot of characters.)
Come and ask them anything. If you don't have Twitter, or you can't make the chat, leave a question (for either or both boys) here in the comments, and I'll ask them for you.
A couple of people requested a Logan-related snippet from SHINE, and being a complete pushover, I said sure. So here you go, Logan lovers. We appreciate your support!
This scene takes place at the headquarters of the Department of Metaphysical Purity, where Aura is being interrogated, as planned at the end of SHIFT. It's the day after SHIFT has ended. Something terrible has happened, but it's not referenced in this snippet.
(Obligatory disclaimer: this is a relatively rough version. It hasn't even been line edited, much less copyedited or proofread. So it's likely to improve a ton before the final version.)
"Yes, our PA folks are experts at calming the public." Agent Ritter's smile was full of ironic admiration. "When did Logan pass on, Aura?"
I looked at Gina, as if for permission, but really to pretend it was killing me to reveal the truth. She nodded and touched my hand soothingly.
I bit my lip. "Last night with me, alone in the cemetery near his grave."
“What time exactly?” Ritter asked.
“About nine o’clock.”
"And you're certain he’s gone?"
I nodded, my throat too tight to speak, feeling and showing the first genuine emotion of this interview. “He’s gone for good,” I whispered.
“Hmm.” Ritter leaned over and pulled up a briefcase that had been sitting on the floor next to his chair. “Let’s confirm that, shall we?” He snapped the briefcase’s lock and lifted the lid with a flourish. Before I could ask what he was doing, Ritter pulled out a small disc of clear quartz and set it on the table between us.
Gina pointed at it. “Who’s the summoner for?”
“Who else?” He tapped its shiny surface. “Logan Keeley was tagged before the concert last week, so that he could be retrieved in the event of a disruptive incident, either for his safety or that of others.”
I was ninety percent sure that Ritter was bluffing. Logan would’ve told me if he was tagged again, the way he’d been before testifying at his family’s wrongful death suit trial. The summoners allowed ghosts to be called to a place they’d never traveled in life—like a courtroom, for instance.
Ritter watched my face carefully. He obviously didn’t believe me when I said Logan was gone. Even now, a tiny part of me wondered: if Logan could cross the boundary between shade and ghost—and ghost and human—maybe he could also cross the boundary between realms.
“That won’t work,” I said. “He’s in another world now.”
“Maybe.” Ritter slid his thumb under the disc and clicked it on. The clear quartz began to glow with a pure white light.
Inside, my heart pounded, waiting for Logan to manifest right here in the room, standing beside me with a bewildered grin. Inside, my lungs tightened with tears at the warring fear and hope of seeing him again. Inside, I was a boiling cauldron of emotion.
On the outside, I yawned.
Before I get to the Ballyrock castle teaser, I wanted to mention, I saw the last Harry Potter movie last night (which was awesome). Cried for the dead and broken-hearted, and cheered for my favorite underdog, Neville Longbottom!
A violet light seeped through our translucent balcony curtains, casting a glow on the ceiling of the living room area.
I sat up in bed, my last trace of exhaustion chased away by excitement. This was the first ghost I’d seen in Ireland, thanks to Zachary’s near-constant presence.
Maybe this ghost would know something about Newgrange. Maybe it’d be old enough to remember what happened during the Shine.
I slipped out of bed, grabbed my sweater, and hurried to the balcony door, where I parted the curtain in the middle to get a better look.
The ghost was a middle-aged man in a classic Irish cap, like the ones worn by the older guys in the pub. His trousers were a bit baggy, as was his tweed coat. He could’ve been from any time, in the distant or recent past.
I opened the door. “Hi.”
He gave a warm smile and said something I couldn’t understand.
“Uh, do you speak English?”
His smile turned to a scowl, and he began to rant, throwing up his arms and gesturing wildly.
I held up my index finger. “Hang on.”
I closed the door, then ran to the bed and almost pounced on Zachary, but held off at the last second. Probably not safe to surprise someone so vigilant.
Instead I crawled in next to him, snuggling close. “Zach, wake up.”
I pressed my mouth to his and gave him a full, deep kiss.
“Second thought, not sleeping.” He rolled me atop his body and kissed me hard, one hand full of my hair and the other sneaking up underneath my shirt.
Though it tore my heart (and the rest of my body), I pulled away far enough to speak. “There’s a Gaelic ghost on the balcony.”
Zachary blinked hard. “Heh?”
“I think he speaks Gaelic. Obviously I don’t, so this is your interview.”
His hands dropped to the bed with twin thuds. “That’s why you’re kissing me?” His voice pitched up in frustration. “Taking my red so I can have a chat with a ghost?”
“Hurry.” I hopped off the bed, pulling his arm. “Ask him about Newgrange, ask him how long he’s been haunting this place, if it’s before or after the Shift. Ask him anything.”
“The dialect’s different here.” Zachary picked up his sweater from the back of the sofa, and the notepad and pen next to the room phone. He shuffled to the balcony doors, rubbing his face, then smoothing his tousled hair. “But I’ll try.”
I sat cross-legged on the bed, listening to Zachary’s muffled foreign words through the door. At one point, he repeated the same phrase three times, slower with each pass. Either he had run up against a Scottish-Irish language barrier, or he couldn’t believe his ears and had to confirm what the ghost was telling him.
Finally the violet glow disappeared. The balcony door opened slowly, and Zachary came inside.
I bounced off the bed. “Anything interesting?”
“Aye.” He wiped his feet on the woven rug, and I realized he hadn’t put shoes on to go outside.
“You must be freezing.” I hurried to the bathroom to get a towel for his feet. He took it from me, a dazed look on his face, then moved almost zombie-like to sit on the sofa.
“Must be hard to get used to,” I said. “Talking to ghosts?”
He held up a hand to silence my babbling. “Aura, that wasn’t just any ghost."
Hope to see you tonight at the chat. If not, leave your questions for Logan and Zachary here in the comments.
And don't forget to vote for Zachary--think of the weans!